Clojure’s journey at Nubank: a look into the future

Tech team thanks Rich Hickey for leadership as he retires from his position at Nu. 

Nubank office

In the ever-evolving world of technology, it’s not uncommon for key figures to transition into new roles or embark on different paths. One such significant transition is the recent retirement of Rich Hickey from Nubank. Known for his fundamental role in the development of the Clojure programming language, Rich’s contributions to Nubank and the broader tech industry have been nothing short of remarkable.

“Rich is an industry defining mind. His contributions extend beyond his role as the creator of the language, transcending directly to the very nature of how software should be built and even how problems should be solved. His ongoing commitment to the community has been invaluable in fostering its growth and innovation. At Nubank, Rich played a  pivotal role in shaping the company’s technological landscape (even many years before he joined the company) and he leaves an outstanding legacy!” says Vitor Olivier, Nubank’s CTO.

Despite Rich Hickey’s retirement as a Nubank employee, his commitment to Clojure stays unwavering. Nubank also remains the prime corporate sponsor of Clojure, employing  Alex Miller and Michael Fogus to continue developing the language under Rich’s guidance. The company will also continue to move forward in spreading the use of Datomic and making it free, with Stuart Halloway leading these efforts.

“It has been an inestimable privilege and pleasure to work with Rich for almost fifteen years, and we plan to work together on Clojure for many years to come. After over a decade as the lead developer of Datomic, I am excited to now take on the role of primary architect of Datomic, leading an experienced and growing team here at Nubank”, says Stuart Halloway.

The bank’s sponsorship on Github also remains intact. The support focuses on funding community members who contribute to the development and enhancement of the programming language, underscoring Nubank’s dedication to fostering a vibrant and collaborative Clojure community.

Thus, as Nubank grows, so too will its use of Clojure, further solidifying the language’s role in the world of financial technology.

Hickey’s journey with Clojure began in 2005, when he set out to create a practical Lisp for functional programming that could seamlessly interoperate with the established Java platform. The result was Clojure, a dynamic, general-purpose programming language that combines the approachability and interactive development of a scripting language with an efficient and robust infrastructure for multithreaded programming. Hickey joined Nubank in 2020, when Nubank acquired Cognitect, the US-based software company behind the Clojure and the Datomic database. Through the acquisition, Nubank incorporated a world-class team to assist developers in translating Clojure’s ideas into business agility and leverage the company’s mission to fight complexity and empower people.

“My time at Cognitect, and subsequently Nubank, remains the highlight of my career. It’s been a privilege to work with such talented and nice people, doing our best to solve interesting and challenging problems”, says Rich.

The journey of Clojure: 15 years of innovation

In 2022, Clojure turned 15 years old. The language was designed to be a practical Lisp for the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) and has since expanded to other platforms. The language’s journey is marked by its unique approach to programming, emphasizing immutability, functional programming, and simplicity.
Clojure’s adoption by the developer community has been a testament to its innovative features and practicality. Over the years, Clojure has been recognized for its design that promotes robust, clean, and efficient code. It has also been praised for its concurrency features, making it a strong choice for multi-threaded programming. 

Despite its relative youth compared to other languages, Clojure’s journey is marked by continuous innovation and growing adoption.